The 2007 Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam – Day 7
The focus this morning zoomed-in on the women’s freestyle event and the completion of the crucial 2nd double elimination.
Women’s Freestyle Double elimination 2
Starting the day well was Greece’s Evi Tsape (Fanatic) who made her debut here last season. A product of the Moreno twins’ girls’ camps, Tsape managed to string an impressive run back up the ladder, including victory over seasoned competitor Yoli De Brendt (Fanatic / North) to prove how much she’s progressed in the last 12 months.
The hardest days work was probably Sarah-Quita Offringa’s gruelling 6-heat struggle back up the ladder (Starboard / NeilPryde). She finally fell exhausted at the hands of Daida Moreno. ‘Today was a new day with new chances but it didn’t start well. It went better after I changed down to a 3.5 but I was dead beat by the time I sailed against Daida. I’m still pretty happy with my result though!’ said the worn-out 16yr old.
Moreno marched onward into battle with smooth sailing Swiss stylist Laure Treboux. There was something different and more motivated about Moreno’s approach today as she came out with all guns blazing to force a re-sail, whilst obviously loving the windier, wavier conditions. ‘In the first final I was on a 3.7 which was comfortable and I saw Laure struggle downwind while I made some one-handed spocks, and some forwards and I also got a nice flaka right on the finishing horn – I also tried a double for the judges just to make sure I had enough points. But in the re-sail I was struggling on that sail – I think Laure was on a 3.0 I tried my best and just did enough to take the win. So now basically after two double eliminations I’ve got a 1st and a 2nd and Sarah-Quita has a 1st and 3rd. It’s not over yet’
Freestyle Results after 2 Double Eliminations
1. Daida Moreno
2. Sarah-Quita Offringa
3. Laure Treboux
Strong steady wind and bright sunshine made for perfect slalom racing conditions. Today the course was changed to have two long reaches after the start before some tighter zigzagging reaches nearer the beach to really test the full range of the competitor’s skills.
Slalom Race 8
Race 8 was a clear-cut affair and another perfect example of Albeau’s precision racing technique. There were good performances from French twins Sylvain Moussilmani (F2 / Simmer) and Benoit Moussilmani (F2 / Simmer) who made it into the final with another form player Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails) loving the gnarly conditions.
However a host of higher seeds failed miserably to advance. Arnon Dagan (Fanatic / NeilPryde), Finian Maynard (F2 / NeilPryde) and Cyril Moussilmani (Fanatic / North) all fell short of the mark in the windy choppy conditions.
Race winner Albeau described the race. ‘I was over-powered on a 6.7 but everything went perfectly, I started upwind and got ahead straight away. I’ve never seen it this choppy before – it was like 35 knots and actually really dangerous as you needed to fully drive-it all the way round’
Slalom Race 9 –Half Fleet
With the strong consistent wind the call was to run half-fleet races for the rest of the afternoon on a similar course to the first race.
After a thrilling drag-race with Micah Buzianis (JP / NeilPryde) this time it was Bjorn Dunkerbeck (T1 / North) who gave everyone a lesson on how to compete as event leader Albeau blew-out in a pile-up at the first mark. ‘I was error-free and blitzed it home’ said Dunkerbeck. ‘Luckily the wind stayed strong which is always good for me – it’s one mistake and you’re out in this game’
Albeau was left spluttering in the fabled racers wake and limped home in 12th. ‘I was neck and neck with Bjorn arriving at the first mark – I saw him through the window of my sail. As I pulled my back foot out to gybe I catapulted really hard and thought for sure I’m going to get run over here really badly so I swam away out wide as they all came thundering around the buoy, and then I swam back in for my gear. It was a shame as I’d got a good start and was set-up nicely’
Second placed finisher Buzianis showed stunning speed over the mix of short and long reaches of the final which was probably the most exciting race of the day. ‘Yeah I was on a 5.4 and my 69 litre board’ said the heavyweight American racer. ‘I started well in the middle and was kind of even with Bjorn at the first gybe, but he got away quicker than me while I got a clout from Kevin’s boom! I was really pushing him on the reaches but couldn’t quite get him around the turns. There’s a lot of racing left to do. Antoine and Matt are consistent for now but in these conditions anything can happen – especially as its forecast to get even windier’
At this point Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / MauiSails) who finished-up third protected second overall until the 9th and final race allowed his brother to leapfrog him into second.
The wind was howling by now in typical Pozo style and that suited old hand at racing Matt Pritchard (Tabou / Gaastra) like a glove.
Reflecting on a good days racing Pritchard talked us through the final ‘I was fully lit-up on my 5.5 and tried to swoosh Micah as I didn’t want to take no for an answer. By the second mark I decided to take him Moto-X style and set him up for an inside move. My board held well as it just goes where you want it to and took it home from there. Consistency is the name of the game here. I won Pozo back in ’98 but now I don’t do the slalom tour full-time. That means a lot of the guys are pretty worn out but I like to come and play with the big boys in the heavy conditions. Here in Gran Canaria there’s chop, waves and wind aplenty and no follow-my-leader style racing like at other venues. I did alright in the wave event here too so sitting in second right now is the icing on the cake for me’
Albeau agreed that the outside gybe was ‘Critical –and the key to taking paces at Pozo’ He finished up second after Dunkerbeck buried the nose and crashed to score an unlucky 13th place finish. Buzianis kept his head after Pritchard snaked him to register third.
Also impressing in the final was Taty Frans who showed his all-round windsurfing skill on the reaches and turns to score a valuable 4th place finish in brutal conditions.
Overall Results after 10 Races
1. Antoine Albeau
2. Matt Pritchard
3. Kevin Pritchard
The first start tomorrow is at 10.00 and the plan is to run freestyle in the morning and slalom racing in the afternoon.
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© PWA / Brian McDowell